STAFF & BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sarah Soell, president, is the proud mother of Adliene, Kerstin (DS), and Koen. She works for the University of Oklahoma as the assistant vice president for Public Affairs, where she plans and coordinates many of the major university events. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University earning her BS degree in Hotel Management and her MS degree in Hospitality Administration. Sarah has been involved with DSACO since the birth of her daughter Kerstin and helped coordinate the FESTIVAL for the last four years, serving as Co-Chair the last two. She is currently a sustaining member of the Junior League of Norman, where she served on the board for two years, and serves as Vice President of the Cleveland County 4-H Foundation. She and her husband Preston along with their three children reside in Norman where they are members of the First Christian Church. Sarah was a member of the 2003 Leadership Norman Class and was selected as Oklahoma Magazine 40 under 40, April 2008.
Bobby Kern, vice president, is the proud husband of Lisa and father to Lydia and Josiah. Bobby has been a member of DSACO since the birth of Josiah in 2013. Bobby holds a BS and MA from Oklahoma Christian University and a PhD in Human Development and Family Science from Oklahoma State, and is a Certified Family Life Educator. Currently, he serves as Assistant Professor of Psychology and Family Studies at Oklahoma Christian. He also serves as a representative on the National Affiliates Board for the National Council on Family Relations, and on the board of the Oklahoma affiliate
Anthony Garcia, treasurer, provides community support as the Marketing Representative for Tinker Federal Credit Union. Anthony is a native Oklahoman, and has volunteered in the nonprofit community in Oklahoma City for more than a decade. Anthony developed a passion to work with children with Down syndrome after his sister Rebekah was born with the condition eight years ago. His work in the local community, and with nonprofits throughout the state, has given him a deep appreciation of how much our state continues to grow. In his spare time, he’s a part-time foodie and claims he can tell you all 23 flavors used in Dr. Pepper.
Robert Powell was raised in and lives in Edmond with his wife, Marne, and their three children. Robert has been a member of DSACO since the birth of his middle child, Lil’ Rob, who was born with Down syndrome in September of 2010. Robert holds a BA from the University of Central Oklahoma and a MBA from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has held multiple financial positions in the private sector and has owned and operated a small business in the Oklahoma City area for the past six years.
Jennifer Young is a group event and ticket sales coordinator for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Jennifer’s first experience with the Down syndrome association was as a basketball court escort on a DSACO-Thunder game night. She quickly began volunteering for the organization after realizing how much she enjoyed interacting with people with Down syndrome.
Chris Paynter, a Special Olympics athlete from Edmond, is one of the first Global Messengers from Oklahoma, beginning his career in 1997. Chris began competing at the age of eight. He competes in several sports including aquatics, bocce, and bowling; but is best know for his powerlifting accomplishments. Chris has represented Team USA at the 1995, 1999, and 2003 World Summer Games in Connecticut, North Carolina, and Ireland bringing home 7 gold, 4 silver and 2 bronze medals in World competition. Chris also competes in Alpine skiing and snowshoeing each year at Heartland Games in Missouri. At the 2001 World Winter Games in Anchorage, Alaska Chris won a Gold Medal in the downhill and a Silver Medal in the giant slolam. Chris is what every Special Olympics athlete aspires to be – he’s competitive, fun-loving, warm, polite, and a true champion at heart. Chris is also a member Oklahoma Law Enforcement Torch Run Board of Directors.
Vance Holder lives in Edmond with his wife, Kari, and his two amazing children Norah (DS) and Hayes. He is a graduate from MidAmerica Christian University with a degree in Pastoral Care and Theology. He is a 7th grade Bible teacher at Crossings Christian School where he also coaches wrestling and football.
Heather Hancock is a Self-Advocate and a Motivational Speaker. She previously served as a DSACO board member from 2006-2012. She is currently a Board member of Oklahoma Special Olympics. She is very involved as a Special Olympic Athlete where she is a Global Messenger and promotes Special Olympics throughout the State. She participates in swimming, basketball, bocce, and bowling events year-round. Heather graduated from Westmoore High School in 2005, where she was selected as Miss Westmoore High School at her senior prom. Heather received a scholarship at the end of her senior year to the Moore Norman Technology Center where she studied business technology. She has been working as an administrative assistant at the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Special Education Section since 2008. She married the love of her life, Craig Blackburn, in June of 2016.
Lisa Hancock is one of the founding members of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma. She has been a Registered Nurse for 38 years working in many areas of the nursing field. She is currently an Employee Health Specialist at Norman Regional Health System. She has worked in the Maternal Child field of nursing most of her career and has counseled many new mothers delivering babies who were diagnosed with Down Syndrome. Lisa has been married for 36 years, and is the mother of Heather (Self-Advocate who also serves on the DSACO board) and Jennifer.
Leslee Boswell resides in Norman with her husband of 17 years, Kye, and daughters Darby (15 1/2) and Drew (almost 12 with Mosaic Down Syndrome). Leslee was a former middle school French teacher before making the decision to not work outside the home once her first child was born. She has devoted most of her free time to volunteerism with Junior League, Assistance League, PTA, and Food and Shelter for Friends. After Drew’s birth, she started the Shining Starz Special Needs Cheer team in 2008 and continues to volunteer weekly with the cheer team as director of the program. She has been a member of DSACO since 2004 and has served on numerous committees and chaired the Festival (formerly Buddy Walk) for 3 years before taking on the addition of the 5K in 2013.
Eilene Franks has been married to her husband, Jason, for almost 7 years. They have two super-handsome and mischievous boys- Hudson (4), and Bryson (1 1/2). The Down Syndrome Association has been an incredible source of support for them over the last four years, as they immediately got involved in all available programs. Eilene has served as Co-Chair and Chair of the Festival & 5k and participated in new parent outreach.
Jeanne Lowrey was born & raised in Woodward; undergrad at Oklahoma State, Masters at OUHSC. She lived in Arizona from 1987-2012 (with 1989-93 in Germany), and moved to OKC in late 2012. Jeanne taught Special Education for total of 17 years (all students had hearing impairment, but many had other needs including Down syndrome). She has been a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual for more than 13 years. She has been involved with many community organizations throughout the years including AZ Blind & Deaf Children’s Foundation, alumni groups, chamber of commerce, church elder & deacon, among other interests. Jeanne earned her Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC) certification in 2015. Jeanne has given several community education events regarding planning families need when they have a loved one with special needs.
Ashley Proctor has eight years of experience teaching students with exceptional needs. She is currently pursuing her Ph. D. in special education at the University of Oklahoma, with the ultimate goal of training new and upcoming special education teachers. Prior to beginning her Ph. D., she was the extended school year principal in Edmond. She resides in Nobel with her husband Michael.
Tylicia Rollins is a mother of three children, and her youngest child Tremayne has Down Syndrome. She has worked for a major insurance company as a licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Agent for more than 10 years, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Oklahoma. She is an active member of her church, serves as a parent volunteer at her daughters’ schools and has been an active member of DSACO for the past five years. She has served on the Education Outreach & New Parent Welcome committees; as well as participated in various annual events and workshops.
Jamie Smith is a “retired” teacher of 12 years, stylist for Stella and Dot, and mother of 3 boys (Kaedyn, Paxton, and Emerson). For the past three years, she has actively raised funds and awareness for the DSACO Festival & 5k. Additionally, she serves on the Calendar and Outreach Committees. She is passionate about sharing the joy that children with Down syndrome bring to the world, and raising awareness of all that they’re capable of achieving.
Zach Tatum is married to wife Amanda and is the father of three beautiful kids. He has been involved with DSACO since November 2008. Zach was born and raised in the Moore/SW OKC area, and has been a Home Builder/Architectural Designer since 2001. He has an associate degree in business from OCCC. He currently serves on the Southwest OKC Home Builders Association & Central Home Builders Association boards and committee.